Saturday, April 14, 2007

Fear and loathing on an American campus

By Robert Fisk

"........But Al would have none of this. And I got the message. To ask the "Why" question made me a Nazi. Which is why I subsequently received a flood of mail, much of it from Denver - what has Denver got against me? - telling me that my mother was Adolf Eichmann's daughter. Thanks, Al. I'm sure you didn't dream of the hate mail your silly diatribe will inspire. I guess Irish radio host Eamon Dunphy did. He pulled the plug on Al.

I'm recalling all this nonsense because Al has been back at work attacking his old nemesis, Norm Finkelstein, who has just applied for tenure at DePaul University in the US where he is an assistant professor of politics. Norm's department has supported him but Al has bombarded faculty members with a blistering attack on Norm and all his works.

So let me just explain what these works are. Finkelstein, who is Jewish and the son of Holocaust survivors, has published a number of works highly critical of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and the use Israeli supporters make of the Holocaust of six million Jews to suppress criticism of Israel's policies. He has accused Dershowitz of plagiarising portions of his 2003 book The Case for Israel. Finkelstein's book, The Holocaust Industry, earned Dershowitz's continued fury.......

...All over the United States, however, Norm's academic chums have been condemning Suchar's tomfoolery; even in Beirut, where Norm has lectured, academics of the American University have insisted that he be granted tenure in his department, Arabs supporting a Jewish professor and son of Holocaust survivors.

Of course, I grant that all this is a little heavy for the real world and I do have a secret desire to take Norm, Chuck and Al and bang their bloody heads together. But what is happening at DePaul University is a very serious matter in the anodyne, frightened academic world that now exists in the US. Norm's moment of truth comes up in May. As they say watch this space. "

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